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2011 Tennessee Master Craft Artist & Apprenticeship Program.

Master craft artists and their apprentices were awarded a total of $12,000 in grant funding for the 2011 Tennessee Arts Commission and Tennessee Association of Craft Artists [TAC/TACA] Artist/Apprentice Program. Now in its second year, this program contracts master craft artists to offer a period of concentrated learning to apprentices who demonstrate a commitment to further develop their abilities as specialized craft practitioners. Awarded were master craft artist Thomas Fuhrman with apprentice Pat Finney in the medium of glass; master craft artist Roger Halligan with apprentice R. Michael Wimmer in the medium of mixed media; and master craft artist Sadie Wang with apprentice Leisl McCrea in the medium of jewelry. As a part of this program, apprentices will receive eighty to one hundred twenty instructional hours from the master craft artist. The culmination of the program is a Master Craft Artist & Apprentice Exhibit to be held in the Tennessee Arts Commission’s gallery July 21 through September 9, 2011. “The partnership was created to encourage and invest in the continuation, advancement, and creation of Tennessee craft by recognizing the role of the master craft artist and apprentice relationship as a way to preserve the state’s cultural heritage,” says TAC Director of Visual Art, Craft, and Media Julie Horn.

Glass vase by Pat Finney

Sculpture by R. Michael Wimmer Jewelry by Sadie Wang

Shrek the Musical! America’s favorite green ogre is coming to the Tennessee Repertory Theatre to entertain audiences of all ages January 25–30. With an allstar Broadway cast, the role of Shrek will be played by Eric Petersen; the

role of Princess Fiona will be played by Haven Burton (Margo from Legally Blonde), and Alan Mingo, Jr. (Sebastian in Little Mermaid) is Shrek’s lovably annoying best friend, Donkey.

Photo: DreamWorks Theatricals (Joan Marcus)

Shrek the Musical tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wisecracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess, and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t found only in fairy tales. Shrek the Musical is an entirely new musical, based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek!, as well as the DreamWorks Animation film Shrek, the first chapter of the Shrek movie series. “Shrek the Musical is wholesome fun for family audiences, but it’s not just a show for young people. Adults will thoroughly enjoy it as well,” says Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC’s president and CEO. Ticket prices range from $27.50 to $72.50 and are available at the TPAC box office, 505 Deaderick Street (downtown). Order online by visiting

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Photo: Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing


The Symphony

Rising by Christine Kreyling

Concert Hall

When a boat takes on water, you bail and then reseal. A symphony hall is a bit more complicated. By the time the flood crested in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center — 8 p.m. on Monday, May 3—the waters were of Titanic proportions. “We had twenty-four feet in the sub-basement and basement, over five million gallons,” says symphony general manager Mark Blakeman. “But that’s a static number, based on taking the square footage and calculating the volume. We were pumping water all weekend, so the amount is really a lot more.”

The rainbow arching over this “rain incident” was that the flood didn’t breach the concert hall. “Had the water reached the high-finish areas— the plaster ornament and wood floors—the repairs would have been much more costly,” Blakeman explains. “But it came close.” Symphony president and CEO Alan Valentine describes the harrowing flood watch. The building’s engineering staff had placed a strip of blue tape on a step of the east staircase into the basement, he says. “They told us, ‘If it gets to the tape, it’s in the hall.’ All Monday, even though it had stopped raining, the river kept rising—and we were holding our breath. The flood finally capped out a foot from the tape.”

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Photo: Alan Poizner

When symphony lovers stream back into the Schermerhorn for the New Year’s Eve concert featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman, the hall will look the

Founders Hall

When the water watchers exhaled, they moved quickly to contain the moisture oozing up from below. “We couldn’t pump faster than the groundwater was receding, because we had to maintain equalized hydrostatic pressure between outside and inside,” so the structure wouldn’t collapse, Blakeman explains. “It took fourteen days to get all the water out of the sub-basement.” Blakeman immediately organized a disaster relief team that grappled with dehumidification and the installation of vapor barriers to protect the most fragile resources. “Our music library, which contains scores marked by conductors from throughout the symphony’s history, is

Photos: Sarah Rose Jones

Photo: Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing

same as it did.

irreplaceable,” he says. “And the organ has wood pipes, as well as leather and felt elements. So we had to quarantine them.” The final instrumental toll included two Steinway concert grand pianos, valued at $100,000 each, the $2.5 million organ’s blower pipes and console, and what’s called the “petting zoo” of instruments used for educational programs. Blakeman is confident that “we’ll find more great pianos; they’re out there.” He also notes that the original maker of the organ console is crafting a new one. And donations from the Gibson Foundation and KHS America, along with several individuals, have enabled the replacement of the “petting zoo.” | January 2O11 | 27

Photo: Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing

Curb Hall

Blakeman says the flood wreaked the biggest havoc on what the concertgoer never sees: “the guts that make the building run, all the wiring and mechanical systems, fire monitors, security apparatus.” That’s because of the purpose-built nature of the structure. “To ensure the best possible acoustics, all the noise-making machinery was in the basement, to get it as far away from the concert hall as possible,” he says. “And it was all destroyed.” The obsessive attention paid to acoustics, however, enabled the Schermerhorn to sustain no structural damage. To minimize the impact of distracting sounds, the concert hall is essentially a building-within-abuilding resting on concrete caissons interlocking with bedrock. These features make the building “incredibly solid, dense,” Blakeman says. “One slab of concrete heaved and cracked and had to be replaced. But it was on grade, not structural.”

Photo: courtesy of the Schermerhorn

North Main lobby

Photo: Steve Hall of Hedrich Blessing

Photo: sara rose jones

Photo: sara rose jones

Before music could return to the hall, “miles of wire had to be re-pulled,” Blakeman says. Reinstalling new air handlers required engineering ingenuity. “The originals were two stories tall; they were lowered in by crane, and then the building was constructed around them,” he explains. That technique obviously wouldn’t work the second time around. The new handlers had to be assembled on site. For the rehab, the symphony staff has been ably assisted by American Constructors, as well as engineers with Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, and TTL, Lee Company, American Commercial Industrial Electric, and architects with Earl Swensson Associates and Hastings Associates. “These were the people who built Schermerhorn for us in the first place,” Blakeman says. “They take great pride in the building and wanted to help us put it back together.” The estimated price tag: approximately $40 million. Valentine says flood insurance will yield $10 million, with FEMA picking up 90 percent beyond that. Tapping the unrestricted endowment, which will ultimately be replaced by donations, will cover the $4 million gap. When symphony lovers stream back into the Schermerhorn for the New Year’s Eve concert featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman, the hall will look the same as it did. More importantly, it will sound the same. Valentine expresses gratitude to the operators of other venues—TPAC, War Memorial, and Lipscomb University—“for going to sometimes extraordinary lengths to provide the symphony with places to play. But some season ticket holders didn’t use their tickets last fall, telling me, ‘We can’t bear to hear you anywhere else.’ The hall is so good, they’d gotten spoiled.” Let the spoiling continue.

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Ingram In Her Own Words by Paul Polycarpou photography by Jerry Atnip

Imagine for a moment that the Schermerhorn Symphony Center does

not stand proudly over 1 Symphony Place. Envision TPAC as nothing more than a multi-level parking garage. Now, tear down the Center for the Performing Arts at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. And while we’re at it we can also strip away years of performances from the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Ballet, and the Nashville Opera Association. The result would be a city devoid of character, culture, and art, a strikingly different Nashville from the vibrant, creative city that surrounds us today. It would be a Nashville without Martha Ingram. Like Elvis, Faith, or Cher, Ingram has achieved that level of celebrity at which she is known by first name alone. Say “Martha” in Nashville, and we know just who you are talking about. Although she should be a topic of conversation because of her expert leadership at the helm of Ingram Industries, Martha is most celebrated and much beloved for her philanthropic endeavors. It is fitting that this January, as the symphony rises to reopen following the great flood and in the spirit of the season of giving, Nashville Arts takes an opportunity to celebrate a paragon of generosity in our midst. But make no mistake, it’s not just about giving. Sometimes it was a battle that Ingram had fought long and hard to build a space and a legacy for the performing arts in Nashville. Today, her efforts have shaped the cultural life of Tennesseans of all ages. Through her tireless efforts to bring TPAC and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center into fruition, Ingram has added depth, meaning, and polish to our “Music City.” And although she is quick to deflect the praise to others, there’s no denying that she has in many ways redefined our lives as Nashvillians.

It is our great pleasure to present Martha Ingram: In Her Own Words. Please, sit down with us and enjoy a conversation with one of the most dynamic women in the world. Although we offer you a transcript of our interview, these mere words cannot begin to express Ingram’s warmth, ease, and unassuming attitude. When talking about art, her face lights up—it is impossible not to notice her enthusiasm and even more impossible to go unaffected by it. You have a strong aesthetic sense about you. Where did that come from?

I was brought up by parents who were activists in Charleston. My father, who was in the broadcasting business, was the youngest head of the oldest Chamber of Commerce in America. And my mother, a devoted homemaker, was very involved as a volunteer in the blind association. I think it was just one of those things where I thought this is just what you did. I didn’t know any better. I was also brought up with, and I’ve heard it so many times, “Look, if you don’t like the way things are going, don’t tell me about it, go do something about it yourself.” And so I think that maybe that was part of my upbringing. I also had a grandmother who said, “Just remember you weren’t put on this earth just to look pretty. What are you going to do to make it better?” She was just so direct about it. I’m hoping I’m going to be able to transmit some of that to my grandchildren. Tell me about your early experiences with the arts. How did you start your journey in the arts?

I was a classically trained pianist. Unfortunately, I let that slip. I’m trying to take it up again, trying to teach myself rather than taking lessons because I have such an erratic schedule. I also took ballet, but I had never seen a ballet, and I’d never heard a really fine orchestra.

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We had a very modest orchestra at Charleston at that time. So it was not something to get really excited about until I went off to college. I went to Vassar, and my new friends were from Cleveland and Chicago and New York City and Boston. They were from places that had the arts in full flourish. And they could talk about the arts. And I realized I was kind of out of the conversation, so I started taking courses, the history of music, the history of the visual arts. My new friends had all this knowledge, and I felt totally out of the loop. Why was that?

I believe it has to do with the effect of the Civil War on our culture here in the South. It was interesting to me that Cincinnati, just across the river from Louisville, never lost anything. And yet, in Louisville, they lost everything. When the money went away, the arts disappeared. So our art and culture to a certain extent had to be recreated following the Civil War.

Yes it did. I talk about that in my book Apollo’s Struggle. The cultural continuum that really came from Europe went away, and there was nobody left that remembered how it had been before the war. There was not a critical mass that had any understanding of it. And so it just didn’t exist other than in little pockets where parents were trying to refine their daughters through music or painting lessons or something like that. But as far as the public was concerned, there were no art opportunities left. They had all gone away. Is that why art is often seen as a luxury rather than as a necessity, especially in our school systems?

Yes, to a certain extent it is. People who never had art in their lives, they just say oh I grew up without that, look at me I’m pretty good, I did ok. But the arts, for the most part, bring great beauty into our lives in ways that can’t always be measured or explained. But it is changing, and I am optimistic. Are we doing enough to bring the arts to young children in our society?

My grandmother said, ‘Just remember you weren’t put on this earth just to look pretty. What are you going to do to make it better? ’

I sometimes wonder if we are putting enough emphasis on the right things, and by right I mean learning how to play an instrument or paint a picture, because you never know, it might turn out to be something a child is particularly good at doing. Even if they do it only for their own pleasure for the rest of their lives. I don’t know how much is the right amount, but I do think that there have got to be the intellectual activities, but you also have the arts as part of that. And you also have the physical activity. I’m very much a believer in fitness, because I guess, as time goes by, I know it’s more and more important to stay fit if you want to live a long time. And I certainly do, because I’m having a wonderful time! There have been so many studies accomplished that indicate that the children who learn best in school are the children who are touched by the arts. I know at the Peabody School at Vanderbilt, they’ve done many studies that validate that the arts may be worthwhile in and of themselves, but they are also worthwhile as a stimulus for teaching and learning.

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Your vision and strength of will helped create TPAC, the Ballet, the Symphony

You must be very proud of that.

Center, the Opera, and so much of what Nashville now enjoys in the arts.

I am proud, but the trouble is the job’s not done yet. It’ll never be finished, I guess. The symphony has got this beautiful facility, but the flood has caused some big financial problems, and the whole collapse of the financial picture on the outside has raised the amount of money we have to pay on fees for our borrowed money. So it’s a big strain on the budget. So we’ve had to reactivate an endowment campaign. All of the groups are struggling and are pushed financially to some extent. But so far they’re all surviving, and that’s our intent, to have them all survive. I’m hoping they’re all going to thrive, not just survive.

When we opened TPAC, thirty years ago in 1980, not many people came. I thought if you build it, they will come. No, that didn’t happen. We had this modest symphony; we had no professional theatre, no opera, no ballet. It was just terrible! So we had to set about getting those things going. We started bringing in busloads of children to performances, and now thirty years later those children are parents bringing their children. It’s very gratifying to see that happen.

There have been so many studies accomplished that indicate that the children who learn best in school are the children who are touched by the arts. But I will tell you this. It was perhaps the hardest work I have ever done. It was an eight-year struggle day in and day out. And it was because the powers that be did not understand why we needed a performing arts center, the opera, the ballet, professional theatre—a world–class symphony. They couldn’t see the value of it. Most of them had no clue what we were doing and why we were doing it. Finally, the hole was in the ground for TPAC, and Ray Blanton came in as governor and put a stop to everything—told me that we didn’t need theatres, we needed a parking garage “little lady.” Fortunately Ned McWherter, then speaker of the house, understood the value in what we were doing and got behind it.

We’ve had Chihuly, the couture show, the Birth of Impressionism, Hilary Hahn, Itzhak Perlman, all in the past year. What does that say . . .

What it says is that this is a remarkable time in Tennessee. When we opened the concert hall, one of the people we talked about bringing to perform was Yo-Yo Ma, but we decided he was just too expensive. Well, he called us recently and said I’m hearing all these wonderful things about your concert hall, and I’m just wondering what have I done wrong that you’ve not asked me to come! He told me he could tell the instant he played one note that this is a very special hall. You know it’s one thing when we say we’ve got one of the best concert halls in the world, but when Yo-Yo Ma says it, it’s a whole other thing.

It would be absolutely impossible today. We were lucky to have the right cast of characters to help make it all happen. It was quite amazing.

Are we on the verge of becoming a world-class center for the arts on a par

Now, to my great joy, all of our performing arts are operating with million-dollar budgets and the symphony with a twenty-some-milliondollar budget.

I think we’re within reach. I don’t think we’re there quite yet, but we’re getting there, and I think if you look around in the Southeast, the footprint of the Civil War, I think we’ve made a larger comeback than any

with other great cities? | January 2O11 | 33

other part of the Southeast. Atlanta would probably quibble with that, but they’ve been trying to build a concert hall for a long time, and it’s still not off the ground. I think we certainly have come further faster in the last thirty years than any other city in the Southeast. I think that we’re doing great work.

in the audience, that to me is a victory. There’s no award that I’ve been given or ever will be given that gets to me the way transforming lives of children and grown-ups does. And I also realize that I’ve been extremely lucky. Most people can’t hop on a plane and go to New York whenever they want to, but then they don’t have to anymore. They can see world-class events here, whereas they were just totally missing out on these things. Now more and more people are discovering what they’ve been missing, and that’s what keeps our audiences coming back for more.

I recently went to see the The Little Foxes play by Lillian Hellman Off Broadway in New York. It was good, but I’ve seen that same play done here, where I thought it was done much better, much more effectively. So I don’t always come away thinking that we still have a little ways to go. In some regards I think we are already there.

Looking ahead for Nashville, what’s on our horizon? What should we be focusing on?

One thing I would like to see is an amphitheatre where the old thermal plant was, and Mayor Dean seems interested in this. I think it would be a big enhancement to the city, particularly in the summertime, for people of all ages.

The reason I’ve stayed so involved in the arts is to make sure we have sustainability. We really are on a

Martha Ingram receiving the Eli and Edythe Broad Award for Philanthropy in the Arts.

What do you think of the visual arts scene here in town?

There’s art, and then there’s art. Some people like the non-representation, and some people insist upon being able to identify what’s in the painting. But there are shades of gray in between those. I’ve just recently bought some new paintings—new to me and newly painted. To me, it’s a way I can brighten up my home and take out some of the more traditional things that I’ve had. I found work by an artist, Jeff Jamison, in an art store in Charleston, South Carolina. I had never heard of him, and now I think I own four of his paintings. It was a surprise to learn that he lives in Murfreesboro. People buy art for different reasons, and my reason was that I was attracted to the paintings and decided they would brighten my home. Rather than redecorate, I’ll just change paintings. I do think people either buy art or attend art events, performing art events, because of their particular tastes and proclivities. I think we have a great variety here to satisfy all tastes. You recently were awarded the Eli and Edythe Broad Award for Philanthropy in the Arts by Americans for the Arts, a tremendous acknowledgement of

Photo: David Minnigan

very high plateau that we’ve reached in Nashville, but wondering if we can keep it going is what haunts me. An Avenue of the Arts would start from the Frist, come down Demonbreun; there would be the Music City Convention Center, and across the street you would have the Bridgestone Arena. Then you’d have the Country Music Hall of Fame, then the Schermerhorn, and just another few steps you’d be at this amphitheatre down by the Cumberland River. Perhaps it could be run by the symphony, but it would be for all kinds of music, an all-summer-long kind of thing, for families and tourists. I think that would be a really good investment for Nashville. So I’m pushing for that. Nashville is enormously indebted to you for what you’ve done.

It’s been a very rich life for me in the sense of being able to spend my time working on something that I enjoy but I know the public can enjoy. It’s been trying at times—difficult to understand the best way to get people to the point where they will enjoy the arts. I think your magazine will help in this respect quite a lot. I’m sure it does. The very quality of it is quite remarkable. Has anyone told you how much your face lights up when you talk about the arts?

Well, the arts mean a great deal to me. And I’ve talked so many other people into giving money, I now believe all this myself—now more than ever! It’s given me more pleasure than probably anything else I’ve ever done other than rearing a family.

your achievements.

It’s a lovely gesture. And yes, of course it’s always nice to be recognized, but it’s nothing like getting the doors opened at the Schermerhorn. After years of really slugging it out, we got across the goal line there. Sometimes when I look around and don’t know anyone

My children say I’m one of the few mothers in the world who thinks she’s younger than her children. You know I do think that this kind of effort is energizing. It gives you a great reason for getting up every day. There’s always another battle to fight on behalf of the arts and the artists.

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From Venice with Love by MiChelle Jones photography by Lawrence Boothby

It is somewhat ironic that Nashville painter Charles Cox creates sweeping vistas of Venice’s Grand Canal, among other things, in a tiny upstairs room in the Bellevue condo he shares with Joyce, his wife of fifty-two years. Cream-colored carpet covers the floor, and dozens of Cox’s paintings (some in ornate gold frames) lean against walls covered in small paintings, ribbons from art shows, and blackand-white posters of Paris. The Parisian streetscapes and skyline views were blown up from a book and used to decorate the walls of a party room when Cox retired from his illustration job fourteen years ago.

The Santa Maria della Salute, Oil on linen, 24” x 36”

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Photo: Lawrence Boothby

left :

Night Cafe in the Dorsoduro, Oil on linen, 8" x 14"

Since that time he’s been painting full time, concentrating on landscapes inspired by trips to Europe or rambles closer to home. Though his scenes of local creeks tend to sell as fast as he can paint them, Cox’s views of the Cote d’Azur and Venice are the real stunners, masterful interpretations of views that have delighted artists and visitors for centuries. Cox’s influences include Sargent, Velázquez, and Degas, and his Venetian waterscapes are reminiscent of those of eighteenth-century Italian painter Giovanni Antonio Canal, aka Canaletto. Like Canaletto, Cox takes artistic license with the scenery, moving buildings from one side of the canal to the other and adding structures or figures to suit his vision of the composition.

above :

Old Homestead in West Salem, Oil on linen, 22” x 28”

below :

Ecole de Plongee, Oil on linen, 20” x 24”

“My idea from the time I was about 15 was to be a painter, but I didn’t know how to get it done. I didn’t think I could make a living at it, so I decided to be a commercial artist,” Cox says. Now he sells almost all of his paintings. “I’ve only been able to keep a few things,” he says. “I guess that’s a good thing.” Cox worked as a salaried staff illustrator for the Methodist Publishing House and spent his evenings working as a freelance illustrator. After all of that, he’s had enough of illustration work and now just wants to concentrate on his paintings. Yet in some ways Cox still works more like an illustrator than a painter, at least in terms of his studio. He sits perched on a little stool in front of a tall wooden easel that has acquired the patina of something far older than its fourteen years. Paint drippings cover the easel’s sill, adding to the aged effect. On a chilly day in November, a painting of the Mediterranean coast

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as seen from Jardin Exotique in the Cote d’Azur village of Éze rests on the easel awaiting completion of the sea and sky. Cox works exclusively in oil, painting on canvas that he frequently leaves unvarnished. His palette is positioned to the right of the easel and is covered in crusty, craggy mounds of oil paint arranged in rainbow order. “I just leave it because it’s kind of interesting to me, the way it develops,” he says of the paint formations. No longer facing deadline pressure, Cox likes to take his time with his art, to let his paintings linger in his thoughts and evolve slowly. “When I retired, I wanted to relax. I was tired of going really fast. So I just sit there and let [ideas] develop in a leisurely way,” he says. Leisurely for him means finishing a painting in anywhere from two or three days to a week and a half. He starts painting at around noon and spends four or five hours in the studio. He paints full time—when he’s not playing golf —and so far hasn’t given in to requests to teach or give workshops. Cox did teach for a while in the early 1960s; local artist Dawn Whitelaw was in one of his classes as a Lipscomb undergraduate. “I remember he would take our work and put an overlay on it,” Whitelaw says. “You could see his corrections, and somehow it gave you hope that you weren’t that far off from making something work.” She also remembers how Cox would take the class on sketching outings, then bring them back to the classroom to paint from those sketches. She found this plein-air work particularly eye-opening. Whitelaw says Cox’s quiet manner influences the way she teaches to this day, and his approach to painting influences her work habits. “He has a real sense of picture-making [along with] good use of color, impeccable draftsmanship,” Whitelaw says. She’s also impressed by the way Cox’s passion for travel comes through in his work.

above :

Building in Nice, Oil on linen, 20” x 16”

below :

Along the White Bridge Greenway,

Oil on linen, 22” x 28”

“I’m happiest when I’m in Venice,” Cox says, his generally low-key manner transformed. He and Joyce first went to Europe thirty years ago and have been back around twenty times. Cox says he was obsessed with going; Joyce remembers his saying over and over that he just had to go, everyone else was going, etc. Finally, she grew tired of his litany and told him to buy the tickets and make the plans. While Cox is self-effacing and even critical of his own work, Joyce is his number-one fan, happy to pull out painting after painting and encourage him to show more. She also admits to enjoying their travels as much as her husband does. Last fall the Coxes’ three children and daughter-in-law joined them for two weeks in France and Italy. As is his custom, Cox took countless source photos from which to paint once back in Nashville. | January 2O11 | 45

left :

Houses at Grasse, Oil on linen, 18” x 14”

bottom :

The Shell Hunter, Oil on linen, 20” x 24”

He was particularly taken with a view of a little bar on a side canal near their hotel. Each night as they passed, he took more and more photos. “I said, ‘Charles, they’re going to think you’re casing the place,’” Joyce says. In effect he was, but only for Night Café in the Dorsoduro, a canal-level view of a terra cotta-colored building with flower-filled window boxes, its lights reflecting in the water around a small motorboat moored out front. He similarly enjoys quiet scenes of nature, especially those of creeks in Middle Tennessee. Whites Creek and Pebblebrook Creek are frequent subjects of his paintings, as is a little creek that runs through a nearby Bellevue park. “That’s the little creek that washed all my stuff away,” Cox says wryly. The ground floor of the condo sustained major damage during the flood last May, but though several of Cox’s paintings (including a 24” x 36” view of the Grand Canal) took on about four inches of water, he was able to save them. For now they are among those propped against the wall in his studio upstairs. Charles Cox is represented by Local Color Gallery.

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right :

Audience, 2006, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 60” 
Painted in live

performance with MuzikMafia at 12th and Porter, Nashville, Tennessee. below :

Large Painted Sketch, 2010, Mixed media on canvas, 5’ x 7’ 
Painted in studio.

the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she had obtained a vocal scholarship, she asked former professor Pat Pattison how she could pursue a dual path of songwriting and singing. After all, she’d always made art, but the music business was still a mystery to her. He directed Kice to an internship at Nashville’s Warner/Chappell Music for a semester, and that grew into a job as the “Handy Girl” for the publishing company. A book that heavily influenced her during this period, Being Peace, was all about breathing in and smiling out, and Kice became the reflection of this particular Buddhist monk’s philosophy in her daily life. The personality shift attracted songwriter John Rich, who introduced her to his partner, Big Kenny Alpin, and together they persuaded Kice to come out to the bohemian, after-hours Pub of Love Bar on 12th Avenue, bring her crayons, paints, and papers, and be a part of the MuzikMafia’s Tuesday night jam. Kice was later encouraged to move her art from the floor of the venue to the stage during the performance. It was 2001, and she and saxophonist Max Abrams decided to put together a concept band, which they named Circus Maximus, a kind of jazz improvisational assemblage with a punk edge, where Kice responded and painted to the music. John and Big Kenny brought spoken word and poetry to the mix whenever they would stop by her gigs and sit in with the group. Big & Rich (as they would later be called) were friends who became fans and big supporters of Kice’s posse, and they all formed a big, loose, organic lovefest experiment of music, paint, words, and movement. Warner Bros. Records ended up signing Big & Rich as a duo, and Kice was asked to go on the road with them as a performer. She has plenty of war stories about being one of only two girls on the tour bus with eleven guys, dressed in what she refers to as grunge-chic. She weathered the “bachelor temperatures” (she thinks men left to their own devices are polar bears) and felt safe, like she was traveling with eleven big brothers. Her unique stage style was often compared to other “performance artists” such as Laurie Anderson and Cindy Sherman while Kice was refining and developing her own “action painting” form of expression. She later ended up going on Big & Rich’s American Revolution stadium tour in 2004 and 2005.

I begin my art with a word to put some paint on the canvas…words mean so many different things to people, and I get excited about interpreting the power of words.

Back at home in the studio, Bjork and Regina Spector currently dominate Kice’s Pandora radio stations, as do The Rescues and Pretty Lights. She also paints to work tapes of songs that she and her 14-year-old daughter, Whitney, are writing, and she is constantly experimenting with all kinds of mediums—canvas, wood, paper, tape, videos, computers—whatever strikes her fancy and fuels her creativity. Following in the traditions of other musicians who paint, such as Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp, and William Lee Golden, Kice brings

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right :

Early Evening Music, 2005, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48” 
Painted in

performance with MuzikMafia on the Hank Williams Jr. tour. bottom tryptich :

Three Piece Suit: Dance, Fight, Win, 2005, Acrylic on

canvas, each canvas is 48" x 60"

a distinctive sense of rhythm to her art. When asked what famous painter she’d like to have dinner with, she smiles and says, “Julian Schnabel. He’s very much alive in the moment, works though a variety of mediums, and I love his paintings, his films, and the fact that he can get all of that done in one lifetime. I admire his concepts that he’s gotten out in the world. I’d like to be his friend.”

Rachel Kice is a woman who has always been given permission to create on a large scale, whether it’s in a concert setting, on her blog, in the pages of her book, or captured within a 12’ x 15’ two-dimensional space. Her works are included in the permanent collections of the Tennessee State Museum, Emprise Bank, Creative Artist Agency, Sony Music’s headquarters in Nashville and New York, and in the private collections of royalty and several country music stars. She has performed her artistic interpretations on concert stages with Gretchen Wilson, Kid Rock, Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack, Heart, and Brooks & Dunn, to name a few. Who knows which direction her art will take her in as she attempts to catch the next imaginative wave? | January 2O11 | 53

Photo: Jerry Atnip

While her painting career flourishes, Kice is currently working on a performance series with a variety of musicians from different genres, as well as writing what she describes as a funny, dark book about love and death. She has a film she wants to do down the road and is fleshing out a screenplay in her spare moments. Words obviously hold a fascination for Kice, and she is working on several pieces of “word art,” being influenced by C. S. Lewis and other authors who inspire her with their phrases. “I usually begin my art with a word to put some paint on the canvas,” reflects Kice. “The word takes a shape, and I begin to turn the words into more than just a sound. I realized that words mean so many different things to people, and I began to get excited about interpreting the power of words.”

Waiting on Shore, 2006, Rosses Point, Ireland | January 2O11 | 59

left :

The day we climbed

Croagh Patrick, 2006 Croagh Patrick, Ireland. There are some moments you wish you could store in a well-corked bottle to savor the rest of your life. Standing on the summit of Croagh Patrick is one of those moments. second left :

My deal with Mary,

The summit of the Minaun, Achill Island, Ireland. Although I had thirteen years of strict Catholic schooling, I have been freelancing it spiritually ever since. But underneath the canopy of this ethereal moment, I couldn't help asking the Blessed Mother if she'd help me move to Achill someday. below left :

The gravity on the

moon is about 1/6 of the gravity on Earth, 2006. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. Some days at the Cliffs of Moher are spent fighting wind, rain, and hail. Some days at the Cliffs of Moher are simply spent resisting the temptation to fly. bottom left :

Against the Wind,

2008, Achill Island, Ireland. Few things excite me more than sitting on the edge of a cliff on a wet, blustery day. I'm like a mudder in a horse race . . . I do my best work in the rain.

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top :

Alice doesn't live here anymore, 2006
Keel, Ireland, Alice Mulloy's

house always seemed to host the most popular starling parties on Achill

John Nikolai with Ginger and Lucky

Island. I followed this flock of airborne gypsies for over a month, and they never failed to impress me with their eye for color and taste in venues. above :

The Bervie gate, 2006
Achill Island, Ireland. This is the view

from room #9 at the Bervie B&B on Achill Island. It’s like sleeping on God's doorstep. left :

The loneliest tree in Donegal through the rain-drenched window

of a rental car, 2004
Near Slieve League, Ireland. When I was in

for safety during recess. John Nikolai is represented by The Arts Company. www. | January 2O11 | 61

Photo: Jim McGuire

kindergarten, I was so terrified of being alone that I used to huddle underneath a very solitary oak tree in the middle of the playground

64 | January 2O11 |


Scokin Takes Flight

by Karen Parr-Moody photography by Jerry Atnip Any event planner worth her Manolos knows that the gilded age before

the Great Recession has given way to a grueling hangover, even for those who waft through life on a vapor cloud of Annick Goutal, fishtail hems trailing in their wake. Charity giving is just one of many categories stymied by newfound thrift. Into this dank milieu enters Nashville’s queen bee of event planning, Elizabeth Scokin, who this past fall brushed the cobwebs out of checkbooks with a new fundraising program benefiting the Tennessee Art League. Called “Art, Dine, Design,” it consisted of a series of twenty intimate dinner parties in the Nashville area, with the goal of fêting at least ten paying guests each. It began with an Arabian Nights-themed event at Morton’s of Chicago, which featured belly dancers and sheiks. “People get tired of giving money all the time to charity,” Scokin explains. “I had to think outside of the box. It can’t be the same old, same old all the time. “Art, Dine, Design” has been a great fundraiser because people have had fun, and it has generated people giving again, writing a check to a charity again, which maybe they hadn’t done in three years because of the economy.” Recently, Scokin—chic in a black Chanel sweater, leopard print Michael Kors skirt, and Christian Louboutin boots—met with Nashville Arts for brunch in her neighborhood, Green Hills. It’s Saturday, and she looks like a thoroughbred among ponies, tucked into a banquette amid the jeans-and-tennis-shoes set. Her glossy, chestnut mane is still coiffed to the high heavens, Jackie Kennedy style, from a photo shoot the day before. Her coltish figure is that of the model she has been since 19, her height being “five feet nine-and-a-half inches, six feet in heels.” Her features are arranged in the symmetry of the exquisite, with doe eyes,

…she looks like a thoroughbred among ponies, tucked into a banquette amid the jeans-and-tennis-shoes set. diminutive nose, and slightly upturned corners of the mouth, which creates the effect of being perpetually amused. Scokin orders a hot tea, then details how she arrived at event planning, why being a humanitarian is her “core,” and why she considers herself a “rebel with a cause.” Scokin grew up in the mannered world of a fifthgeneration cotton farm in Blytheville, Arkansas, a town founded by her great-great-grandfather, the Reverend Henry T. Blythe. She credits her family with sending her on the path to charity work. “First and foremost I’m a humanitarian,” she says. “That’s my core. That’s how I was brought up; it was my responsibility as a human being to be kinder to the person who has less. That is what my father told me: You’re not kinder to the person who has more, but to the person who has less.” | January 2O11 | 65

I always feel like I’m the rebel with a cause. I’m the one who’s always going outside the comfort zone.

66 | January 2O11 |

By age nine, Scokin’s entrepreneurial spirit blossomed. “I sold Christmas potholders all over the neighborhood, for a quarter apiece—or you could buy two for forty-five cents,” she says, laughing. (The Easy-Bake Oven, the tea parties, and the potholders also foreshadowed Scokin’s other venture, Haute Hostess Aprons, a collection of aprons made of ball gown and cocktail dress fabrics that she began producing several years ago. So popular are they that Jessica Seinfeld cooked in a black sequined version on the Oct. 26, 2010 episode of Oprah, and various publications have featured them, including Glamour, O, Domino, and USA Today.)

with a cause. I’m the one who’s always going outside the comfort zone.” If the road so far is any indication of her continued potential for success, this will mean more manners, more charity, and more nonprofits being fêted in ways that raise funds fabulously, thank you. Nashville Arts Magazine would like to thank Lane Motor Museum for the 1938 Georges Iriat, and Tom Patten for his 1952 Bonanza Airplane. Clothing by Jamie and Gus Mayer. Jewelry by Banana Republic. Hair by Michelle Clark. Makeup by Mac Cosmetics. Luggage and gloves from the private collections of Patricia Wylie Mathews and Barbara McMann Daane.

“Everything I’ve ever done, I’ve self actualized,” Scokin says. “That’s why I never tell anyone they can’t do something. But I’ve taught my girls to own the agency.” By 19, Scokin had modeling agents in Dallas, where she moved, and in Houston. She eventually married Dr. Daniel Scokin, with whom she had four children and came to live in Nashville. They divorced in the late ’90s, a time when Scokin got into charity event planning professionally, although she had volunteered many times. In 2003 she married Joe Majors, who had been a professional football player, lawyer, and state representative; he died of cancer in 2007. With modeling, Scokin began her long ascent into society, where she would eventually rub well-pumiced elbows with such grand dames as Ivana Trump, Lynn Wyatt, and Candy Spelling. Over the years, Scokin has attended a storied list of events in cities such as Palm Beach, San Francisco, and New York—cities known for their jaw-dropping splendor when it comes to rolling out a red carpet. She assiduously plans her own events with details gathered from such globetrotting. “People let me take them to the edge because they know I won’t let them fall off,” she says. “It’s all details.” Of such details, she has had pizza delivered to a party by bicycle, Vespas on hand for photo ops, Sony PlayStation access, and champagne donated from twelve different French purveyors at a single event. Scokin recently concocted an enchanted forest for an “Art, Dine, Design” dinner at Belle Meade Plantation called “The Woods By Candlelight.” Baroque strands of Vivaldi emanated from the trees, beneath which guests were whisked down candlelit paths to the mausoleum. There, a sixteenth-century carriage held buckets of champagne, and down another path, a gypsy sang. Finally, a dinner party was held in the dairy house by the light of hurricane lamps. “You felt that you were in a special place, and you were back in time,” says Scokin. Next up, Scokin says she will carry on these fundraising dinner parties into next year, calling the program “Art, Dine, Design: The Winter Series.” And as for Scokin personally, she hopes to continue to be “the proactive woman.” She explains: “I think you do things that make you happy, that make you get out of bed in the morning, and you’re joyful. And too, I think the more you do, the more you can do. I always feel like I’m the rebel | January 2O11 | 67

on the horizon

Lindsey Pearson’s World of Wonder by Beth Inglish Sketches of enchanted animals with crazy ears, oh my! Welcome to Lindsey Pearson’s world of wonder. A natural-born artist, Pearson creates mixed-media art that invites her audience into her dreamlike imagination. Originally from  Mt. Juliet,  Tennessee,  Pearson has been creating art since she was a child. She received a degree from Belmont University in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography, but it was Pearson’s father that taught her the ways of wonder. Every night when she was a child, her father tucked her tightly into bed, leaving little Lindsey with one of his original bedtime stories. These elaborate tales full of fantasy taught her at a very young age to always cherish creativity. Now, at the age of 25, Pearson still turns toward her creative roots, truly embracing the familiar, uninhibited world of childhood. She says, “When you explore your past, that’s when you find your true nature.”

Pearson’s work is special because it is uniquely hers. It comes from a place of pure imagination that speaks joy, vulnerability, and intimacy. She magically translates her innermost thoughts onto paper and canvas, also using fabric, newspaper, and ink.

She said, “It takes me several days to develop the idea in my head. First I sketch until I’m ready to put it on canvas, and then the color comes last.” When the perfect idea doesn’t arrive right away, she turns toward nature to unlock her creative energy. To generate ideas, one of her favorite pastimes is to sit outdoors and sketch. Many times trees, sky, and other natural elements are manifested in her work. Pearson also uses multiple creative outlets such as painting and photography to keep her creative mind fresh, further adding to the layers of her true artistic identity. For more about Lindsey Pearson, visit her original artwork at Nashville gallery

Photo: Anthony Scarlati

shows, artisan fairs, and online at her website at

70 | January 2O11 | | January 2O11 | 71

Appraise It

Early American Pattern Glass Pitcher and Goblets, circa 1880.

EAPG can be found in a very wide variety of patterns, and to actually be considered Early American Pattern Glass, any one pattern would have been manufactured in a wide range of forms, from butter dishes to goblets. A single EAPG pattern, with names like “Baltimore Pear,” “Westward Ho,” “Egyptian,” and “Bird & Strawberry,” may have been produced and marketed in as many as one hundred distinctive forms. Present day collectors of EAPG tend to pursue their collections in different ways, such as by pattern, by form, or by company. The most common presentation is clear, and some of the bestknown manufacturers include Boston & Sandwich, Bryce Brothers, U.S. Glass Company, and Hobbs. It is interesting to note that while the Massachusetts firm, the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company, situated themselves on Cape Cod, their site sand was too coarse for glassmaking, so finer sand had to be brought in from New Jersey.

Photo: Jerry Atnip

Early American Pattern Glass is commonly referenced with the acronym EAPG by collectors and dealers. This form of glassware, when first pressed by machines in the 1830s, featured dense and ornate patterns to hide manufacturing flaws caused by the pressing machine or the operator. Created by pressing hot liquid glass into a mold that gives it its form and decoration, “pattern” glass tableware peaked in its popularity and production from 1850 to 1910.

Native American Man’s Shirt, Seminole, circa 1950s.

The complexity of the patchwork pattern of this Seminole man’s shirt is analogous to the establishment of the tribe itself. The Seminole people are the descendants of the Creek Nation, a nation that was created through a gradual process of assimilation. Migrating south to Spanishinhabited Florida in 1700, they became the

dominant tribe in the region. Their growth as a group is attributed to absorbing runaway slaves and the Creek who came south as refugees of the 1813– 1814 Creek Wars. The tribe became known as the Seminole, or “runaways,” in 1775. In the ensuing centuries of conflict for control of the land by the Spanish, British, and the United States, thousands of Seminoles were either forcibly

This striking pitcher, pressed overall with a high-relief star pattern, is attributed to the Central Glass Co. of Wheeling, West Virginia. In this rarely seen pattern known as “Effulgent Star” aka “Star Galaxy,” the Photo: Jerry Atnip

pitcher with two goblets would have an auction value of $200 to $300.

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my favorite painting

Keith Glanz Specialty Coffee Roaster and Retired Member Pacific Stock Exchange

Summer, Sebastopol

Photo: Anthony Scarlati

In the early 1990s when I lived in San Francisco and started collecting, one person more than any other kept the pulse on important emerging Bay Area artists: Marian Parmenter, who cofounded and directed the SFMOMA Artists Gallery. She pointed me to a figurative canvas by a young Berkeley artist, and it’s been a love affair with Claire Cotts’ work ever since.

Like any great artist, Claire has an immediately identifiable style and voice. Her abstract pieces rumble with an emotional intensity that is mystical and serpentine. Her paintings are strangely beautiful. By that I mean that within the lush, natural images are webs of disarray and uneasiness. Claire calls this dyad “constrained joy.” It’s this delicate contradiction that keeps me looking in wonder. I’ve never been attracted to Pollyannaish imagery or excessive optimism. I’m more interested in clues to dealing with the uncertainty of awareness. Claire’s gorgeous new work Summer, Sebastopol speaks to me in this way and is one of my favorites.

Summer, Sebastopol, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 72” Diptych by Claire B. Cotts

About the Artist Claire B. Cotts has been exhibiting her distinctive, richly layered figurative and

Her work has been exhibited nationally and is represented in numerous private and

abstract canvases for over twenty-five years. She received her Bachelor of Arts from

corporate collections as well as many museums, such as the San Francisco Jewish

Oberlin College and her Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Berkeley. Cotts

Museum, the California Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

is the recipient of three prestigious fellowships, which have allowed her to live and

Claire Cotts currently lives and works in Berkeley, California. The artist is represented

study internationally, including the Fulbright Fellowship, which provided travel funds for

by Tinney Contemporary Gallery in Nashville.

her to study painting in Turkey. 82 | January 2O11 |

2011 January Nashville Arts Magazine  
2011 January Nashville Arts Magazine